In 2001 or so I got a free pack of playing cards on a Finnair trip between Paris and Helsinki. They are quite nice, really. Each card has a pic of some morally improving Finnish scenary, or kids in knitted hats, for artistic ice-covered berries, or reindeer. You know the sort of stuff.
I brought them with me in case I finished the books I brought. I thought yesterday that it would be a good way to elicit more direction terms, relative locations, and that sort of thing. We had a 4×4 (later 6×6 when that was too small) set of cards, one person had to keep a card in mind and the other had to find it. Person B would guess a card and Person A would say “no, you have to go that way” or “it’s further”. It was quite successful.
Then, we shuffled all the cards and BE and JS worked out a ‘story’ using the images. I don’t know what’s on that recording yet, since I went to the shop to get some blank CDs. That’s going to be fun to listen to!
That’s a brilliant idea! I never thought of something as simple as playing cards for eliciting directionals. Why don’t people write about these sorts of elicitation techniques in language documentation journals?
Probably because most people who use stimulus materials plan them a bit further in advance than I do, so they use materials designed for the purpose rather than what they have to hand. :) Some of my techniques might raise the eyebrows of IRBs (like scope elicitation using cigarettes — each Wamuttjan took a drag on the cigarette, I half my yapamiṯtji a blue each and half a red (not this type of blue). Very effective though. Way more effective than pictures of kids catching fish.
A few of the off-the-cuff low tech stimulus material activities are in my book.